I took a gap year after I got burned out from my corporate job that had a steady salary. Here is my gap year experience and advice.
In this job, I was making ok money, attending company events, and selling a product I was not passionate about at all. I figured this is what life after college felt like. Then, on my way to work, I got into a car accident which left me on bed rest for 6 months. This allowed me to realize that I could slow my life down a little bit. During the next 6 months I planned a gap year of travel during what I called my Gap Year after college. I knew I wanted to go to India and France. I ended up booking a Journalism and Marketing Internship in India and was on my way to Bangalore.
I did my gap year work for a local travel magazine in the city which was a fantastic experience. I got a chance to eat at around two dozen restaurants where I did restaurant reviews and interviewed chefs. I interviewed small start ups, up and coming shopping boutiques, salons, and some amazing hotels. I got a chance to go all over the city and explore the amazing energy of India. I improved my writing skills, my interviewing skills (that I didn’t know I had) and built my travel confidence. I had never before taken a year off and lived abroad. I lived with international interns from around the world. In the evenings we would talk to each other about our highs and lows at work. We would try weird Indian snacks and plan our trips for the weekends. Overall it was a great journalism internship.
On the weekends we would go on day and weekend trips. If one of us fell ill, we would all accompany that person to that hospital. When one of us was leaving, we would throw a goodbye party. A Gap Year is not just a great way to explore a new career path but also to make some incredible friends along the way. Although my gap year was a while ago, I still keep in touch with all my housemates and my colleagues from work.
My time spent abroad also helped me to realize that it is easy for me to live in many other countries. I went through dental surgery abroad, stomach pain that didn’t go away for 2 months, and muscular fatigue in my feet that didn’t allow me to walk. Despite all my physical sickness issues, I made it on my own! Well with the help of the amazing local people I met of course.
When I took my internship, I realized that I could help many others take a gap year and experience life abroad as I did, and give them well informed gap year advise. I wanted other travelers to have a safe, meaningful and life-changing year like myself. I thus started working on building Leave UR Mark and helping others see the value in the program. I’ve lived with over 50 international interns and volunteers and helped around 300+ in total. I’m constantly learning from them, growing with them, and working towards making their experiences better. I’m happy to stay in the international education and internship abroad industry forever if I can!
My advice to anyone that is considering doing a gap year of work and travel is…to just do it. It’s true that you might be totally broke by the end. But you will learn how to hustle. And you will learn that Starbucks coffee is a real luxury. You will understand how to prioritize travel and experiences over material comforts. I did and I’m all the better for it. To apply for the Journalism Internship that I went on, click here.